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Marriage is a beautiful thing, but not always easy. There are many sources of stress that can challenge even the strongest marriages. Of all the stressful things to happen to a marriage, having one or both partners struggle with addiction tops the list.
Fortunately, addiction counseling for couples is a specialty niche among treatment programs. These couples programs are designed to help spouses not only tackle the addiction but to restore their marriage.
Warning Signs a Spouse is Struggling with Addiction
It may be surprising to learn that a spouse may be able to hide their substance abuse from their partner, at least for a while. These are high-functioning addicts or alcoholics, as they are still able to perform on the job and function socially.
At some point, though, the signs of substance use disorder will become visible. These may include:
- Finding hidden drugs or alcohol in the home or car.
- Catching the addict spouse in lies.
- The spouse can’t seem to limit their intake of a substance.
- The spouse stops taking care of daily tasks, like paying the bills or parenting.
- They have angry or violent outbursts.
- Missing work often.
- Obsessing with having a supply of the substance on hand.
- Neglecting their appearance.
- Mounting legal troubles.
- Having money problems.
- Mood swings.
- Shows signs of withdrawal symptoms when the substance wears off.
How Addiction Harms a Marriage
Substance abuse is toxic to a marriage in many ways. Some of the ways addiction can undermine a marriage include:
- Harm to children. Children raised in a home with addict parents often grow up to have problems. This is because the child may be neglected or even abused, which causes trauma. They are also more apt to abuse drugs and alcohol later in life.
- Money problems. The spouse may end up losing their job due to the substance use, which can result in money issues. Any money that is there may go to fund the substance abuse. Bills go unpaid and this can lead to housing insecurity.
- Violence. Intense stress results when there is addiction in a marriage. The effects of the substance abuse can lead to fighting and even violence.
- Deceit. The addicted spouse will begin to tell lies and deceive their mate to cover up his or her substance problem. These actions can cause trust bonds to be broken.
Addiction Causes Dysfunction in a Marriage
Addiction in the marriage usually brings about maladaptive behaviors. These are coping methods that do more harm than good, and just prolong the duration of disease. Two such behaviors include:
Codependency. This is a one-sided coping system in which the healthy, non-addicted spouse becomes just as unhealthy as the addict. This is because codependency is built on neediness. The addicted partner needs the substance, and the other spouse gains a sense of purpose by fulfilling their needs. The long-suffering caregiver spouse bends over backward to meet the addict’s every need. Thus, they need each other.
Enabling. The non-addict spouse may fall into habitual enabling behaviors, such as smoothing over the problems of the addict spouse. For instance, the enabling spouse will lie or make excuses for them, to cover up the substance problem. The enabling spouse only makes it easy for the addict spouse to stay in his or her addiction.
Best Addiction Counseling for Couples
Rehabs that offer a couple’s program will utilize types of psychotherapy that are designed just for couples. Addiction counseling for couples helps partners identify and change dysfunctional behaviors that are only adding to the harm. These therapies help them improve their communication skills and also teach conflict resolution techniques.
Couples therapies include:
- Behavioral Couples Therapy: BCT is designed for couples who struggle with substance abuse. This therapy helps partners recognize the disordered behavior patterns that have infected the marriage. During therapy, the couple will create a recovery contract with each other, and also learn some problem-solving skills.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy: EFT teaches partners how to regulate their emotions and replace negative behaviors with positive behaviors. The new healthy behaviors will encourage mutual support, leading to a closer bond between the partners.
- Alcohol Behavioral Couples Therapy: ABCT is designed for couples with an alcohol use disorder. ABCT teaches recovery skills that promote abstinence and teaches couples how to have a healthy, loving marriage without alcohol.
Help for Couples in Addiction Treatment
A couple’s rehab program offers the perfect solution for healing the marriage in recovery. Partners share a common goal, which is to sustain sobriety and also to improve the relationship. Treatment includes:
- Medical detox. A detox team offers support throughout the process and helps manage withdrawal symptoms.
- Individual therapy sessions. These private sessions allow the spouse to discuss openly any issues they may have, allowing the therapist to provide guidance.
- Group therapy sessions. These are groups of peers in recovery that meet to discuss topics related to addiction and recovery.
- Addiction counseling for couples. Therapies that benefit couples and their relationships are the centerpiece of a couple’s rehab.
- Family therapy sessions. Many adults with substance use disorder are parents. Therefore, it is helpful when teenage or young adult children participate in family therapy sessions with the addict parent.
- Holistic activities. Marriage retreats feature a menu of holistic healing options, such as yoga, meditation, massage, and art therapy, which enhance the experience.
Couples should create an aftercare plan that will further reinforce their new sober marriage. These actions include outpatient treatment and joining a local 12-step group.
Capo by the Sea Specializes in Addiction Counseling for Couples
Capo by the Sea is a leader in the niche of couples rehab, offering a comprehensive approach within a luxury setting. For more details about our couple’s treatment program, please call us today at (888) 529-2114.